The United States’ known death toll from COVID-19 would surpass the number of dead from the Spanish Flu within the next few days or so, according to the side-by-side numbers.
Though a direct comparison between the raw numbers did not give the whole story, medical experts and statisticians said.
“What is clear is that the sheer numbers, given the modern-day tools that combat such illnesses, are a heavy burden.’’
COVID-related US deaths as of Sunday night stood at 673,763, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
That’s just over 1,200 fewer than died in the 1918 Spanish Flu, which took an estimated 675,000 lives in the U.S.
Before this, that flu pandemic was the most lethal since the U.S. was formed.
With an 1,800-per-day death average, the number who have died of COVID-19 could surpass the previous scourge by Monday.
In 1918, the US population was just over 100 million, whereas it is 330 million today, as The Washington Post points out.
That made the death rate one in 500 Americans as opposed to the 1918 toll of one in 150.
Globally, the number was 4.7 million dead so far, which was much lower than the worldwide 50 million who died in 1918 and 1919 from the Spanish flu, as Fortune noted.
But unlike the two-year period that the Spanish flu ravaged humanity’s ranks, COVID-19 was not even close to quitting.
“The fact that deaths surged at the end of 2020, nine months after the pandemic reached the U.S., with the highest daily death tolls in early January 2021, is perhaps the most discouraging comparison to the historical record,” Virginia Tech historian E. Thomas Ewing said.
The Washington Post; “we ignored the lessons of 1918, and then we disregarded warnings issued in the first months of this pandemic. We will never know how many lives could have been saved if we have taken this threat more seriously.”